African healthtech start-ups to get R120m acceleration
Startupbootcamp (SBC) AfriTech has collaborated with the Investing in Innovation (i3) Programme, to support 30 African healthtech start-ups to the tune of $7 million (R120 million), over the next two years.
The i3 programme is a Pan-African accelerator programme designed to support tech companies specialising in healthcare-related sectors and the supply chain in Africa, over a 24 month-period.
With critical inefficiencies and widespread inaccessibility to adequate healthcare systems in Africa, healthtech start-ups can play an important role to improve overall health conditions across the continent, notes SBC.
Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the African Union Development Agency, among others, the i3 aims to identify early-stage or growth-stage innovators across the continent that can make a tangible impact on public health, whether in terms of availability, accessibility, quality or transparency of health supply chains.
It is an initiative established by consulting and advisory firms Southbridge A&I, Salient Advisory and SCIDaR, with Startupbootcamp AfriTech being the South African implementation partner.
Founded in 2010, SBC AfriTech aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship on the continent, by providing start-up owners with entrepreneurship skills and development support.
African healthtech start-ups are encouraged to leverage opportunities by applying for the i3 programme to receive business support that will enable their businesses to scale.
Cheikh Oumar Seydi, director for Africa at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, comments: “African health innovators have shown increasing capacity to leverage technology to optimise supply chains and advance access to medicines.
“Such local innovations have the potential to change how supply chains and health systems function – and it is time to support them. We are pleased to be collaborating with strong global and continental partners to jointly strengthen African health systems and accelerate progress towards universal health coverage.”
Qualifying companies selected to participate will be eligible for a systematic grant of $50 000, as well as a market access programme through events organised across the continent, according to SBC.
Start-ups working in health product distribution across Africa are invited to apply. The programme officially launches on 19 September.